Oy, here it goes again: Following a suspected drone-plane collision in Mozambique and the subsequent colorful headlines across news outlets stating something to the effect of “Drone Hits Plane In Mozambique,” the incident was reportedly a false alarm.
According to coverage from The Aviation Herald, the airline, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique, came into contact with an “external body” that caused a “loud bang” as the Boeing 737-700 landed at an airport in Tete last week. The report says a “post-flight examination” said an unmanned aircraft system was to blame for the damage.
However, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority reportedly confirmed at a press conference yesterday that a “foreign object” was not, indeed, the culprit. Rather, it was likely “structural failure caused by airflow pressure,” The Aviation Herald reports.
After the incident and the frenzy of media reports, the Drone Manufacturers Alliance said although it takes this type of report “very seriously,” in the past, “early reports of drone incidents [have] turned out to be false.”
Kara Calvert, executive director of the alliance, which comprises DJI, 3DR, GoPro and Parrot, said in a statement, “Our members are investing heavily in technology and features that enhance safety and help avoid collisions, and we work hard to educate users about safe operations.
“As the industry evolves, we believe it is important for authorities and policymakers to proceed thoughtfully and in a way that continues to recognize the immense benefits of drone technology,” she adds.
This certainly isn’t the first “drone hits plane – no, just kidding, it wasn’t actually a drone” event to happen in the past few years, and it probably won’t be the last. (Remember PlasticBagGate 2016, when an object police “believed to have been a drone” reportedly hit the front of a British Airways plane in the U.K. and turned out to be a “plastic bag or something“?)
Besides developing technology such as collision-avoidance software and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast devices, companies have undertaken efforts to study the potential risks of a manned-unmanned aircraft collision: Most recently, drone maker senseFly teamed up with aviation navigation app Air Navigation Pro to launch the “Safer Together” initiative, and the U.K.’s Department of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Defence are reportedly even undertaking a project to fly drones deliberately into passenger jets.